Tag Archives: DTH drilling

Sandvik unveils second battery-electric concept surface drill rig

As decarbonisation efforts accelerate across the surface mining sector, Sandvik has unveiled its second battery-electric concept surface drill rig.

The battery-electric vehicle is the first in its size class, capable of drilling DTH holes up to 229 mm in diameter, and blending the autonomy of battery with the continuous endurance of power cable, Sandvik says.

Electric surface rigs have long depended solely on a tethered cable as the power source. With its second battery-electric surface concept, Sandvik says it is showcasing the latest technology advancements to push the potential of more sustainable surface drilling.

“With the industry shifting towards intelligent, autonomous and emission-free equipment, surface drill rigs need to be reinvented,” Lauri Laihanen, Vice President, R&D, Surface Drilling Division, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said. “This new concept rig elevates electric surface drilling.”

The intelligent DTH rig’s battery pack provides power for up to one hour of drilling or up to seven hours of tramming. The battery is primarily intended for tramming and drilling individual holes while the bulk of a pattern is carried out via power from its 180-m tethered cable.

“The battery means greater freedom and flexibility and more efficient use of time, as the rig can drill immediately while the cable is being set up,” Laihanen said.

Sandvik designed the cable setup to be as effortless as possible. The cable tightens itself automatically according to the direction the rig is moved and is wound on a single layer, which enables a thinner, more manageable tether, it says. An operating voltage as high as 1,000 V also helps enable a lighter cable.

While Sandvik’s latest pioneering concept introduces battery-electric operation to a larger size class DTH drill, its subsystems and technologies are all tried and tested, mine-proven and energy-efficient, according to the company.

Sandvik introduced its smaller top hammer battery-electric concept surface drill rig in May 2022, developed to support more sustainable drilling in construction applications.

“Testing of the smaller concept with our construction customers has been very successful and produced valuable feedback,” Laihanen said. “We’ve learned a lot, and now it’s time to apply these learnings to mining, which has its own unique challenges.”

Sandvik will test its latest concept drill rig in real-world surface mining environments in close collaboration with mining customers.

“We need to identify the challenges, learn from them and share the knowledge,” Laihanen said. “The shift towards more sustainable mining will change the entire operating environment, and with the learnings from our latest concept rig, we can produce more value for our customers on their decarbonisation journey. We’re excited to write the next chapter in surface drilling together.”

Robit wins ‘groundbreaking’ DTH drilling contract at Shougang Hierro Perú

Shougang Hierro Perú has recently added Robit drilling consumables to its drilling arsenal, following a string of tests comparing down-the-hole (DTH) tools, the Finland-based company says.

A large share of the drilling and earthmoving operations at Shougang Hierro Perú is conducted by Cosapi Mineria, a subsidiary of Cosapi S.A., one of Peru’s biggest construction and engineering companies and the company that Robit had to impress.

An open-pit operation typically makes extensive use of DTH tools for pre-split and buffer drilling. That’s why Shougang Hierro Perú, an iron ore miner, was an attractive target for Robit SAC to approach with its offering.

José Luis Cisneros, General Manager of Robit SAC, said: “The iron deposit at Shougang Hierro Perú consists of very hard and abrasive materials. You can find competent soils with compressive strengths of 250 to 300 MPa. We contacted Cosapi Mineria and carried out the first test in early 2020 with 7-in (178 mm) bits and a D65 hammer. Since then, we have been working ever more closely with Cosapi, providing them with material innovations to increase performance.”

He added: “In recent months we have been working together with Cosapi in a testing process of the main DTH providers in the market. Thanks to the constant monitoring by our Assistance Engineer, Kevin Salas, and the development of the right products through our DTH Sales Manager, Martín Rodríguez, we have been able to generate new ways of improving the operation and proposing drilling targets with higher standards.”

The open pit operation requires a lot of double bench pre-splitting, performed with D45 HD hammers and 5-in bits, ballistic buttons and a convex face. The bits have obtained an average duration of 1,400 m, and an average speed of 32 m/h.

Recently, Cosapi signed an extension contract for its operations in two of the open pits at Shougang Hierro Perú. Impressed by the tests conducted with Robit, it granted a consignment agreement, trusting Robit with 60% of the consumption of drilling tools over the competition, Robit says.

Cisneros said: “This is the first contract of consumption for DTH tools in Latin America where we will provide assistance and stock for the client’s operation, including technical service, maintenance of hammers and management of drill bits. We hope to show Cosapi Mineria and the market that Robit SAC has the necessary resources to keep exceeding the expectations of our strategic partners.”

Sandvik Leopard DI650i drill rigs make first appearance in Namibia mining industry

Namibia-based KODO Drilling has taken delivery of the country’s first Sandvik Mining and Rock Solution’s Leopard™ DI650i surface drill rigs, which are set to go to work at an open-pit gold mine.

The rigs will be used as part of KODO Drilling’s down-the-hole (DTH) production drilling remit at the mine. The units arrived at the mine site in early November 2022.

According to Andries van Wyngaard, Territory Manager and Acting Managing Director at Sandvik Namibia, the contract is an important step in the company’s expansion strategy. Over the past year, its field service department has grown to seven trained full-service technicians in-country.

“As Sandvik Namibia gears up to support more equipment sales into the local market, we are grateful to KODO Drilling for their confidence in our innovative products and committed service,” van Wyngaard says. “With the values of KODO Drilling and Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions so closely aligned – including safety and service excellence – this is a perfect fit.”

The DI650i, a diesel powered crawler mounted intelligent DTH rig, is designed for demanding production drilling applications in surface mining, according to van Wyngaard. The self-contained unit is equipped with an ergonomic iCAB operator’s cabin, fixed boom, dry dust collector and drill pipe changer – incorporating a modern design and layout.

“The rig comes with a range of new or redesigned components to boost its productivity,” he says. “It has the capacity to drill a wide variety of hole sizes from 90-165 mm. We have also run trials in Namibia with our RH560 hammer and we’ve seen exceptional performance – drilling holes from 115-203 mm.”

KODO Drilling Director, Vilho Hanghome, says his company’s progress is based on its constant drive to deliver innovative services and perform within a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.

“Having previously procured exploration rigs from Sandvik, we have valued the equipment quality and service we have received – as these have allowed us to deliver performance within budget to our clients,” Hanghome says. “We are therefore pleased to be investing in Sandvik’s state-of-the-art DTH technology and we will rely on their high level technical support going forward.”

Van Wyngaard says the contract shows KODO’s faith in Sandvik Namibia’s ability to support its DTH offering with aftermarket service. He points to the considerable interest the local market has shown in the delivery of the two rigs.

“After we signed off on the deal and sent the units off from our Khomanani headquarters in Kempton Park, many of our Namibian customers have noticed them on the road and posted excited comments online,” he says. “The mine where the rigs will operate is also looking forward to benefiting from the results of the new machines’ performance.”

Among the advantages the units offer is ground level access to all daily maintenance and service points. This makes for greater safety – as technicians do not have to climb around the machine. It also adds to productivity, as quicker maintenance means less downtime. Its silent and ergonomic cabin is a leader in the market, and boasts excellent visibility for safety and operability, according to the company.

Contributing to its low total cost of ownership are its intelligent hydraulic and compressor systems, which, it says, can deliver 38-42% improved fuel efficiency. Incorporating intelligent technology, the Sandvik DI650i rigs can accommodate scalable automation from on-board options to full automation systems.

Sandvik Namibia has made encouraging progress with recent equipment sales into Namibia, explains van Wyngaard, and he looks forward to a new era of engagement with both the surface and underground mining segments.

“Building on our long-standing relationship with KODO Drilling, we look forward to many more successful ventures with them and other customers,” he says.

MEDATech solves precision problem in Wassara drilling with Borterra WaterBox

Ontario-based MEDATech has completed what it says is a world first with the development of a self-contained diesel- or electric-powered unit that pumps water at the exact flow rates that down-the-hole (DTH) water-hammer drills require.

The MEDATech Borterra WaterBox™ water hammer drill pump digital controls deliver precise pressure and flow rate, according to the company, allowing such drilling (also known as ‘Wassara drilling’) to be carried out precisely in sensitive applications.

A digital-control system manages pump speed and engine throttle to maximise efficiency and fuel economy, while precise pressure, flow and other key data (up to 3,000 psi at 120 gallons per minute (207 bar at 454 litres per minute) are displayed on the colour screen of the radio remote control.

MEDATech’s Borterra drilling division designed the WaterBox to solve a specific problem, it said.

“The company had built a drill with two drilling technologies, the WS6000, for Alabama Power’s Southern Company in 2020,” it explained. “The hybrid water-hammer/sonic drill was built to drill through embankment dam overburden and karst without destabilising the surrounding ground, for grouting. But it required a more precise flow rate and pressure control than any pump could deliver at the time in order to keep holes straight, true and uniform. So we built our own.”

MEDATech Borterra Product Manager, Scott Dalrymple, says water hammer drilling is a very precise science.

“Creating effective grout curtains in embankment-dam drilling requires hundreds of straight holes,” he explained. “One thing that will throw a hole off is inconsistent water pressure and flow rate. We had to solve that for the WS6000.”

The issue with traditional pumps for water-hammer drilling has always been that flow rate and pressure are hard to control. This causes drilling irregularities and can result in a slower drill time and/or a less accurate hole, MEDATech says. With WaterBox, the operator sets the precise desired flow rate and/or pressure. Both values are displayed in real time on the remote control and the operator can fine tune as needed – as drilling goes deeper or ground conditions change. Fine-tuning is necessary to maintain maximum penetration rates while ensuring precision and repeatability for each hole drilled, it said.

The self-contained, self-sufficient pumping unit is built into a modified 10 ft x 8 ft x 8 ft shipping container complete with forklift pockets, crane lifting points and an automatic ANSUL Fire Suppression system. Compact, rugged and highly portable, it is proving popular within the Wassara-drilling community, MEDATech says.

Terelion expands into down-the-hole drilling market with Warrior product line

Terelion, a manufacturer of rotary drill bits to the mining industry, is gearing up to expand into the down-the-hole (DTH) market with its latest product release at MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas.

In addition to the existing rotary bits range, Terelion now offers the Warrior product line of DTH hammers and bits in sizes from 4-8 in (102-203 mm.

Traditionally, DTH is used for drilling up to 10 in production blastholes in quarries and surface mines, with the ability to drill fast with minimum hole deviation in hard and fissured rock earning its popularity. It is also used for drilling pre-split and buffer holes in large surface mining operations where production drilling is done by rotary.

Rahul Obla, DTH product line director at Terelion, said: “This makes our new Warrior DTH range a perfect complement for our customers, who mostly use our rotary tools in their production drilling.”

Introducing the Warrior DTH product line with a full range covering 4 in, 5 in, 6 in, 7 in and 8 in hammers is a natural step for Terelion’s new growth strategy, it says.

“Having both rotary and DTH offerings allows Terelion to be the productivity partner of choice for large mining customers who use both methods of drilling,” the company said.

Obla added: “Our rotary drilling customers appreciate our premium product offering and committed way of doing business. Now they can get their DTH tools in the same way from us as well. And, of course, we address any operations using DTH also for production drilling that seek an agile and committed tools supplier.”

Epiroc debuts DM30 II SP drill rig at CONEXPO

Epiroc has introduced a new single pass rotary blasthole drill rig for quarrying and small mining operations at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The DM30 II SP (Single Pass) crawler-mounted, hydraulic tophead-drive rig offers faster hole-to-hole drilling and a lower cost per tonne through single-pass capability, it says.

Showcased at the company’s CONEXPO booth, it is built off the same platform as the Epiroc DM45 and DML blasthole drill rigs. This means it is suitable for a variety of single-pass rotary and down-the-hole (DTH) drilling applications and can achieve a clean hole depth of 11 m for single-pass applications.

The small footprint of the DM30 II makes it easy to manoeuvre on tight benches and simple to transport within the pit and over the road between pits, according to Epiroc. It also offers a low total cost of ownership, with a structure design life exceeding 45,000 hours.

The single-pass capability allows for faster hole-to-hole drilling and decreases the cost per tonne, while its design and layout grants quick and easy access to all major service points, simplifying maintenance, according to Epiroc.

The DM30 II SP is designed to handle 4-6.5 in drill pipe with a hydraulic pulldown of up to 133.4 kN and a hole diameter of 5.5-7.875 in (140-200 mm). A 36-ft (11 m) single-pass tower option increases productivity for 29-36 ft drilling conditions by eliminating the need to add a second drill steel, it said.

Customers can, meanwhile, choose a low- or high-pressure compressor to create the right configuration for their drilling operation.

Heino Hamman, Product Line Manager, Blasthole at Epiroc Drilling Solutions, said: “Built off a proven platform and with the new single-pass capability, the DM30 II SP reduces the overall cost of production per tonne and improves transportability. It offers high quality at an excellent value – and flexibility for the future.”

Outfitted with several enhancements to help keep operators safe on the job, the DM30 II SP features a FOPS (Falling Object Protective Structure) cab, ground-level isolation and an air-end safety shutdown system for high-temperature situations. A 300 gallon (1,136 litre) fuel tank allows the rig to continuously operate for more than 14 hours before refill, Epiroc claims.

“For increased operator comfort, the DM30 II SP features an insulated, pressurised, heated and cooled cab with tinted glass, a suspension seat, 80 dBA noise level and excellent visibility,” the company said.

“All operational functions are controlled from the driller’s console, and the ergonomic layout allows operators to instantly switch from drilling to tramming for increased productivity.”

In addition, the electric-over-hydraulic controls are common across the DM series, making operation easy for drillers with DM series experience.

“The DM 30 II SP is a simple machine scalable to automated features,” Epiroc said. The rig can be equipped with on-board technology capabilities such as the optional Epiroc Rig Control System (RCS) Lite for added safety and productivity.

Built on the RCS 5 platform that comes standard on the Pit Viper series, RCS Lite offers safety and interlock features, Epiroc says. “It also provides a convenient foundation to add more functionality and technology options in the future without a major rebuild of the machine.”

RCS Lite allows all Epiroc rotary drills to have the same onboard display and system for consistent operator training and service, the company said, adding that it had sold over 100 RCS Lite systems in 17 different countries around the world.

Epiroc to showcase surface drilling automation expertise at CONEXPO 2020

Jon Torpy, General Manager and President for Epiroc USA, says the company is heading into its first CONEXPO-CON/AGG as “an experienced company committed to driving the future of intelligent infrastructure development, quarrying and mining”.

The company plans to showcase its surface drilling automation expertise at the Las Vegas show, taking place on March 10-14, with several “innovative and productive offerings” set for their North America debut.

The new Epiroc SmartROC D60 down-the-hole (DTH) surface drill rig for quarrying, mining and construction (pictured) will get a showing. This rig has been updated with Epiroc’s innovative automation-ready platform, with the D60 offering the “intelligence and power to consistently and efficiently drill high-quality blast holes with accuracy and precision”, Epiroc says.

It is loaded with smart features such as automated drilling and rod handling that increase safety, efficiency and consistency for a lower total cost of ownership, according to the company.

The automation-ready platform also includes the new Auto Feed Fold feature. With a single action, Auto Feed Fold enables the operator to fold the feed for tramming or position it for drilling. This also comes in handy when operating one or more drill rigs remotely with the BenchREMOTE option, Epiroc said.

The D60 can drill holes of 4.6-7 in (11.68-17.78 cm) in diameter and to a maximum depth of 182 ft (55.47 m). “All these features and flexibility are packed in a rig that is economical to run due to the intelligent control of the compressor and engine rpm,” Epiroc said.

The SmartROC D60 also uses 79 gallons (359 litres) less hydraulic oil than previous versions and features fewer hoses and pumps, according to the company. This helps to further reduce costs and makes servicing easier, while increasing sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of the rig.

Alongside the SmartROC D60 rig at the Epiroc CONEXPO-CON/AGG stand will be the PowerROC D60 Tier 4 Final surface drill rig.

This hydraulic DTH surface drill rig for mining and quarrying not only drills the largest holes in the PowerROC family, it is equipped with an engine that meets Tier 4 Final emissions regulations to reduce its environmental footprint, the company says.

The rig can drill large holes ranging from 4.31-7 in. In addition, the 5+1 Rod Handling System makes it possible to drill holes down to a depth of 98.5 ft, according to the company.

“The rig features a pilot hydraulic system and straightforward electronics which make the PowerROC D60 both easy to operate and simple to service,” Epiroc says. “The powerful rotation unit ensures that the rig can operate reliably in all types of rock conditions. In addition, a highly effective dust collection system ensures that the work environment is kept clean and safe, which protects both machine and personnel.”

The last big rig to go on display will be the Epiroc DM30 II.

Built off the same platform as the DM45 and DML blasthole drill rigs, the Epiroc DM30 II is suitable for a variety of multi-pass rotary and DTH drilling applications, Epiroc says. The compact yet heavy-duty design of the DM30 II delivers powerful performance and easy transport between benches or even between properties, according to the company.

A crawler-mounted, hydraulic tophead-drive rig, the DM30 II can achieve a clean hole depth of 28 ft for single-pass applications and up to 148 ft for multi-pass applications with a starter rod under the rotary head. It also features a 30-ft drill pipe change and a four-rod carousel. It is designed to handle 4-6.5 in drill pipes with a pulldown of up to 30,000 lbf (133,446.7 newtons) and a hole diameter of 5.5-7.875 in.

The mainframe and layout of the machine has been updated for 2020 to better assist customers needing a small-profile machine for tight drilling conditions or transit between sites, Epiroc said. Reductions include: working width (to 14.16 ft); transport width with ladders and non-cab side jack removed (12.3 ft); and height, tower down (15.4 ft).

Customers can choose a low- or high-pressure compressor to create the right configuration for their drilling operation. The DM Series drill rig can be equipped with on-board technology capabilities with the optional Epiroc Rig Control System (RCS) Lite for added safety and productivity.

The company will also use the show to talk up its new digital fleet management solution, My Epiroc.

My Epiroc is available on web and mobile devices with features for increasing fleet efficiency and safety. The platform enables mining and infrastructure operations to optimise fleet performance, with the solution to be demonstrated at the Epiroc booth.

“Regardless of role – a fleet manager focusing on uptime, a machine operator getting the job done, or a member of the service team keeping on top of equipment performance, safety and reliability – My Epiroc is built to assist in accomplishing jobs and improving work flow,” the company said.

Epiroc will also exhibit rock drilling tools solutions for integration with the FlexiROC T30 R, PowerROC D60 and SmartROC D60 drilling rigs, while presenting its TCO supervisory agreement to improve fleet maintenance and lower total cost of ownership.

IMDEX sticks with Flexidrill acquisition plan as drill tech trials continue

IMDEX has entered into a secondary option period from March 2019 – December 2019 to acquire New Zealand-based companies Flexidrill Ltd and Flexidrill Construction Ltd, and the patent-protected technologies COREVIBE™ and MAGHAMMER™.

IMDEX’s decision to progress the COREVIBE and MAGHAMMER towards commercialisation is based on strong demand from drilling contractors and resource companies, together with successful trials at IMDEX’s test site in New Zealand, it said. COREVIBE trials – validated by SGS, a world leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company – concluded a productivity gain of 33% over conventional coring.

The secondary option period will allow IMDEX to conduct further product development and testing, while establishing its supply chain and manufacturing requirements, Imdex said.

In relation to COREVIBE, IMDEX expects to trial commercial prototypes with clients by the end of its 2019 financial year. MAGHAMMER commercial prototype trials will follow in the first half of 2020.






“The consideration to enter the secondary option period was varied from NZ$5 million ($3.4 million, 50% cash/50% IMDEX shares) to NZ$3 million in IMDEX shares to allow for NZ$2 million cash being applied to additional investment in product development,” Imdex said. There are no other variations to the original option agreement or extended option agreement, as announced in January 2018 and September 2018, respectively, the company said.

“Should IMDEX choose to exercise its option to acquire Flexidrill in December 2019, the COREVIBE and MAGHAMMER are expected to provide additional global revenue and earnings during financial year 2020 and be earnings accretive within 12 months of the exercise date,” the company said.

IMDEX’s Managing Director, Bernie Ridgeway, said: “We are pleased to further progress the COREVIBE and MAGHAMMER technologies towards commercialisation. These unique technologies have the potential to deliver substantial economic and productivity benefits to our clients globally, which is becoming increasingly important as new discoveries are likely to be under ground cover, deeper and require more drilling.

“It is widely recognised within the industry that drilling costs represent approximately half of global mineral exploration expenditure. Reducing these costs has been a major challenge, which is likely to intensify given increasing safety standards, environmental restrictions and greater average hole depths.”

Flexidrill Construction said its MAGHAMMER technology followed successful deep hole field tests it carried out in the oil and gas industry. “It is a unique, magnetic down the hole hammer, compatible with any rotary rig and designed to drill open holes in virtually any formation, hard or soft,” the company said.

It can operate with any drilling fluid (including viscous bentonite solutions) so is ideal for overburden, often without the need for casings. This system is not affected by ground water, so flooded formations are also not a problem, according to Flexidrill Construction.

COREVIBE, meanwhile, offers productivity improvements through high penetration rates, extended bit life and reduced tripping of inner tube for blockages, IMDEX has previously said.

Sandvik builds on rotary blasthole drill foundations with new xSeries

Sandvik has launched the xSeries family of rotary and DTH drills, as it looks to offer a “migration path” to its iSeries of drill rigs.

The xSeries is built upon the proven design and reliability of Sandvik’s diesel-powered rotary blasthole drills and features added intelligence and improved operator ergonomics, according to the company. “This provides operators with the right balance of reliability and technology to drill the perfect hole safely,” Sandvik said.

Highlights of the xSeries, according to Sandvik, include:

  • Touch screen GUI interface featuring the Sandvik Automation Module (SAM) offering the following options:
    • Health monitoring system – replaces old style shutdown switches and enables continuous, real-time measurement, allowing the operator to take the necessary actions in advance of any alarm situation;
    • Same hardware and software components as the iSeries machine including a 7 inch (17.8 cm) mobile-grade rugged touch screen and latest generation PLC;
    • Improved user experience – enhanced control system features (as found with the iSeries machines) reduce troubleshooting time and increase availability. Familiar Sandvik “look and feel” graphical user interface reduces the learning curve.
  • Compressor Management System (CMS) Lite electronic controlled compressor system;
  • Oversize driller’s window offers a “superb view” of the drill table during operation and improved visibility during tramming;
  • Bolt-on mast locks eliminate cutting and welding, making mast change-outs easy;
  • Swivel-enabled operators seat with integrated electrohydraulic controls simplifies operation and offers improved visibility of operating environment.

Jacques Britz, Vice President, Surface Pedestal Drills, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “For decades, customers have counted on Sandvik to develop the most durable products in the market – rigs that will be able to work at a mine site for decades.

“In developing the xSeries, we’ve taken our customers’ feedback into our research and development efforts and are proud of the newest addition to our product line.”

Sandvik says the xSeries offers a migration path to the iSeries “should the customers’ business needs dictate”.

iSeries drill rigs are equipped with Sandvik Intelligent Control System Architecture, which provide a wide range of functions for maximising performance and precision in drilling, and have features for fully-automated face drilling, optimised penetration, boom control systems and comprehensive tools for drill planning, reporting and analysis, the company said.